Finally. It’s nearly here. The long awaited Aliens: Colonial Marines is out this month (12th February for those who don’t know). We take a look at what we know we can expect from the game from the information we know so far.
It is set in between Aliens and Alien3
One of the biggest problems the previous Aliens game had on home console was that it was included in the Aliens vs Predator story-line. It added in a third element, which whilst on paper that may have been a good idea and extended the replay value, but in actual gameplay, the Predator just felt clunky and in my opinion, it was the worst of the three characters. Aliens: Colonial Marines looks to fix that oversight, with the only playable characters being the Aliens and Marines.
The game is set on the planet LV-426 and the abandoned U.S.S Sulaco from the Aliens film. By using these environments, we already know that the Xenomorphs have infested the area. We also know that we take control of a group of highly trained marines sent to take them out.
There is Drop-in/Drop-out Co-op Gameplay
This one will always be a bit of a compromise, how will it affect the gameplay experience? Will it take the Dead Space 3 route, where the co-op is on a separate story-line? Or will they be able to directly take control of another Marine? We do know that the co-op is both online and offline so you can sit next to a mate and reminisce about how awesome the first few Alien films were.
There is kick-ass multiplayer
I got a chance to go and play the game back at Eurogamer last year, and having to stand in a queue for 40 minutes was definitely worth the wait. You get to play as either marines or the Xenomorphs, and there are multiple classes to choose from. During the demo, we got to play as the marines, which meant that we were facing off against an incoming horde of Xenomorphs. As the Marines you get a tracker and weaponry but, much like DOOM 3 with the flashlight, you can only carry one at a time. The only exception is the Smart Gun, which can track the Aliens whilst shooting. If you’re playing as a Marine, this is definitely the Gun for you to go and find.
One point I’m extremely worried about is the amount of time the game has been in development. It’s become almost another Duke Nukem: Forever, and Gearbox have again taken over the reins for this game. They also took over Duke Nukem, but it has to be said, the bits that they worked on were by far the best bits of the game. This is going to be a worry that only time will answer.
Another major concern is that with such an awesome Multi-player, will the single-player hold up? Games that generally have a very prominent multi-player generally have a relatively weak single player. We’re hoping this isn’t the case as there is the potential for some truly amazing single player in the story. Gearbox is generally very adept at creating both single and multi-player awesome however. One only has to look at the quality of Borderlands 2 to breathe a little easier.
Where it is placed in the Alien continuity may suffocate the story-line.
The other aspect of the game that worries me slightly is that where it is in the continuity, it may suffocate the story-line and not give it enough room to become its own entity in its own right. It will have to follow the rigid structure of the films, and whilst the films are amazing, the game may struggle as it is a different media. However it is considered as canon by 20th Century Fox and it is written by the Battlestar Galactica Writers Bradley Thompson and David Webble. They also discussed it over with Ridley Scott, so hopes are definitely high that this will be an amazing story on par with Aliens. There are also some of the original voice talent remaining, so that will immerse it into the story-line even more.
It will suffer the same fate as Aliens VS Predator.
Aliens VS Predator wasn’t a bad game; it just wasn’t what the fans wanted. They wanted something to harken back to the original films, one that wasn’t part of the crossover franchise. I personally like the crossover franchise, and I enjoyed Aliens VS Predator, but I readily admit that the original series of films are timeless and are far superior. Now that fans are getting their game about the original Alien series, we hope that this is what they want, especially after the disappointment that was Prometheus.
Overall this is a game that I am seriously looking forward to, as both a long term Aliens fan and a gaming fan. This combination should have been a perfect mix a long time ago. Shooting Aliens, it’s what games were made for. Why it hasn’t happened before hand there are probably thousands of reasons, but I have extremely high hopes for this game.